Kim Foulger, Drama Department Production Technician
In Search of My Father…Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins
Award-Winning Show Returns for Benefit Performance
KENTFIELD, CA—January 17, 2014—Winner of the Best Solo Performance of 2006 Award by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, this 90-minute one-man show has been performed throughout the country and received rave reviews since it was first produced 15 years ago.
Writer and solo performer W. Allen Taylor, who crafted this award-winning coming-of-age show from personal experience, is bringing “In Search of My Father, Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins” out of retirement as a way to give back to the College of Marin Drama Department where he has taught for many years. This will be the first in a series of theatrical events celebrating the 50th anniversary of College of Marin's award-winning Drama Department.
Directed by Ellen Sebastian Chang, the show will open with a preview performance on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m., followed by performances on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 at 8p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m., in the College of Marin Studio Theatre located in the Performing Arts building at the corner of Laurel and Sir Francis Drake Blvd, in Kentfield, CA. Reservations may be made by calling (415) 485-9555. The show is a fundraising event benefitting the College of Marin Drama Dept. The suggested donation for preview night is $10 per person, and $25 for other performances. Donations in advance or at the door may be made by cash, check or credit card.
“The show has always been for me about service and about healing,” says Taylor, who says he is excited to bring the show to the 80-seat College of Marin Studio Theatre. Taylor, currently a drama professor, was head of the Drama Department for five years. “I wanted to do something for the Drama Department, which has done a lot for me.”
In “In Search Of” Taylor brings to the stage the poignant journey of discovery of the father he never knew, Bill Hawkins, an acclaimed radio disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio. With period rhythm & blues, gospel and jazz music serving as a backdrop, Taylor portrays numerous characters that captivate audiences of all ages. It is a story that transcends ethnic and racial lines, Taylor says.
“The story is universal. It is about what a child goes through on the path to manhood and the legacy of black radio.” His search embodies universal truths about family and secrets while celebrating the rich cultural legacy of black radio. The production helped inspire the posthumous induction of Bill Hawkins into the Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Ohio in 2007.
“I’m always discovering new things that I would’ve loved to ask my father about, even just to ask him what it was like to be 60 now that I’m 60,” Taylor says.
“In Search Of” was initially commissioned by the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, where the first workshop of the play was performed in February of 1999. After several more workshop productions, the play made its professional debut at the Marsh Theatre in Berkeley and won the Best Solo-Performance of 2006 Award from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. The show has also had successful productions at the AfroSolo Theatre Company of San Francisco, the Cleveland Playhouse (produced by the Dobama Theatre Company) in Ohio, and at the New Federal Theatre in New York City. It was retired after a final production at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in February, 2012.
Taylor’s theater career began in 1979 and includes performances in regional theatres around the country, including critically acclaimed off-Broadway theaters such as the Negro Ensemble Co. and La Mama E.T.C. He performed on Broadway in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and on network television and in feature films. Taylor co-produced off-off Broadway and co-founded the O’lac Repertory Ensemble, a New York-based Audelco Award-nominated theater company dedicated to producing original plays by African-American playwrights. Taylor received his master’s degree from the American Conservatory Theater and began teaching at the College of Marin in 2000.
Don’t miss this riveting and critically acclaimed story that was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered as part of the “Lost and Found Sound” series, which can be heard on the show’s website at www.walkintalkin.com. For more information call (415) 485-9555.
Advance reservations may be made by calling the Drama Department at (415) 485-9555. Any unclaimed reservations will be released 15 minutes prior to the performance. On the day of the show, unreserved seats will be available at the door 45 minutes prior to the performance. Donations may be made by cash, check, or charge. Proceeds benefit the Drama Department.
“His story, underscored with evocative music of the times, is emotional and sometimes touching...Using a minimum of props but peopling the stage with a host of characters.”
“... His characters are not only varied and clearly distinguishable from each other, but also convincing and fully realized...He manages to delineate his characters by getting to their heart.”
“... a deeply personal story, a chapter of this great city's history and an account of a pivotal era in broadcasting and popular music.”
“...a breathtaking kaleidoscopic gallery of effortlessly drawn, economically minimal, but surgically accurate thumbnail sketches of the broad range of folks ....distinctly brought to life with the most human credibility.”
“Taylor's quest for such wisdom is the intriguing core of a piece. The art he makes of that search is not only enlightening but moving, funny and captivating as well.”
“The more Taylor delves into his father's past, the more interesting the show gets, so that the finale, in which we come as close as we can to actually meeting Bill Hawkins, is tremendously rewarding.”